13 May 2021
Post-lockdown dread – 5 ways to use yoga to calm anxiety
The world is getting back to normal (Hurray). Masks are becoming a thing of the past. The previous 18 months have had their ups and downs. They’ve been challenging for everyone, but have also given people lots of time to reflect, recharge, and learn new skills.
Our world’s have shrunk and things have become a lot more cosy. We’ve been wrapped up in our own bubbles and time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life has, for many, been a truly relaxing experience.
So, it’s only natural to feel some apprehension when we hear about things opening up. You haven’t been in a crowd of more than 6 people in a year. How will you manage 100?
For many of us this adjustment won’t be too awkward but for others this could bring about a real sense of anxiety. As the world rushes to reopen again we could long for our lazy days in the garden.
Being anxious about the end of lockdown is normal and there are many ways to cope with the creeping unease. One way you can overcome this dread and enjoy a drink with your friends is by using yoga to calm anxiety.
Can you spot anxiety? How can yoga help?
We will all feel anxious sometimes. It’s an evolutionary trait that’s been built into us from the dawn of time. As humans there are times in our life where it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit anxious.
Job interviews, a wedding day, going to the dentist. Being anxious at times like this is just your body telling you to be on high alert. It’s doing its job.
Anxiety can range from anything from butterflies in your tummy to a nervy, excitable energy and cold sweats. Although this can be unpleasant, more often than not it’s endurable.
When anxiety spirals out of control however it can become a really limiting force in your life. People who have suffered anxiety attacks have described persistent feelings of dread, flurries of panic, feelings or urgent fear, and their fight or flight response kicking in.
Not nice symptoms.
The idea of going out to a crowded market place, or to a busy restaurant could trigger feeling like this in you. But using yoga to calm anxiety is a great way to snap out of this fear spiral and tell your body everything’s fine, you’re not in danger.
Yoga can help to calm your anxiety in these situations because it doesn’t force you to rationalise your way out of fear.
When you use yoga to calm anxiety what you’re actually doing is taking the lessons you’ve learned from yoga to recognise which of your thoughts, feelings, or actions are making you feel anxious. Once you’ve identified these things you can implement self-soothing, anxiety coping habits into your schedule that’ll allow you to get on with your life.
5 way to use yoga to help calm anxiety
There are many ways you can use yoga to calm anxiety. Some methods can be done on the move whereas others should be done before you go out or when you return home. Below are 5 ways you can use yoga to help calm your post-lockdown anxiety.
Do some deep belly breaths
We’ll start this list with a very practical tip. Deep belly breaths can be done anywhere. Even at work, although it does require you to lie down so maybe find a side room in the office so you’re not stretching out in front of co-workers.
The effects of conscious deep breathing are really beneficial. It directly calms the nervous system and helps you achieve a relaxed, soothed state.
To do deep belly breathing properly you need to lie on your back. Find a support for your legs or back if you’d like more comfort. From there you can place your hands above your navel and slowly, and deliberately begin breathing in and out. Be conscious of your breathing and enjoy the relaxing effects.
Interrupt your panic
A hectic day around town can lead to a heightened sense of panic. Conversely, getting ready to meet friends at the start of the day can also send you into an anxiety spiral.
These can be tough to get out of, especially when you have nothing to break the cycle of your own thoughts. Being stuck in your own head is the worst place to be but in this situation you can use yoga to calm anxiety. How?
When you step on to a yoga mat you have an opportunity to step out of thinking mode. Yoga is the conscious practice of letting go of your worries. It is, in effect, a way to break the current worry cycle you’re in, become relaxed, and move on with your day.
If a tough day at the office or plans with friends are making you feel anxious a quick 15-minute at home yoga session could break that cycle and let you get on with your day.
Decompress after a tough day
Stress and anxiety can make you feel physically compressed. Worrying too much can bring about physical symptoms such as tension and fatigue. Knotted shoulders, necks and back are some of the classic indicators of anxiety and you’re literally carrying that around with you.
Yoga can help remove this physical tension with some good old exercise. Yoga is not only great for removing mental stress but physical tension too. This combination of de-stressing the body and mind and releasing the grip anxiety has on us.
Have a gratitude journal, write in it often
Lot’s of yoga practicers keep gratitude journals. They’re a great way of putting your thoughts on paper and keeping them out of your head. When we’re anxious it is easy to focus on the negatives and forget about all the great things happening in our lives.
By writing down three things a day you’re grateful for you can turn your worries into positive thoughts.
Have a guided meditation podcast on standby
Meditation and yoga go hand in hand. Often you’ll find that people practice both. Meditation helps us to slow down, reduce stress, and connect with our inner self.
If you’re just starting out with meditation or you’ve had a particularly hectic day getting into the right mindset for meditation can be tough. So having a guided meditation podcast or playlist on standby is a great way to switch off, recharge, and reduce anxiety.
Ready to get back out there?
The world opening back up is exciting but a bit daunting. We’d suggest you take all the time you need to readjust to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. If you’re a little apprehensive about in-person meetups you can book online yoga classes with us. For those ready to enjoy a class at one of our studios you can find all the information you need on our studios pages.